Boycott Leap Year

Everyone is talking of boycotts nowadays. It seems like every organization over 20 people has a boycott list. I guess everyone needs something to boycott — but I’ve been without one ever since New Kids on the Block faded away.

I’ve been thinking long and hard and I finally came up with my cause — leap year. Leap year is an extreme annoyance. It is too confusing. Next February 29, 2004 should be March 1!

Leap year was authorized by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., because it was assumed that the year had 365 1/4 days, with a 366-day leap year added every fourth year.

My thoughts — who cares if we are 0.25 days out of alignment each year — it will take generations to make any difference. And the weather in San Francisco is so screwy that it really won’t matter.

To make matters more complicated, an Anglo-Saxon monk in A.D. 730, the Venerable Bede, calculated that the Julian year was 11 minutes and 14 seconds too long, an error of about one day every 128 years. You’re probably saying — who cares? My thoughts exactly — and no one did care until the end of 16th Century. In 1582, the accumulated error was estimated at 10 days, and Pope Gregory XIII defied all logic and made a universal announcement that the day following Oct. 4 would be Oct. 15.

To make future adjustments for the error (about three days every 400 years), it was decided by the powers that be that years ending in “00” would be common years rather than leap years — except those divisible by 400. Makes sense? So 1600 was a leap year and so was 2000, but 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not — and neither will 2100.

So I’m going to boycott the next leap year. I’m leading a delegation to the United Nations to force the world to treat 2/29 as 3/1 and I will send “Happy Normal Year” card to everyone I know.

Then we’ll add a minute at the end of every day — which will give us about 365 extra minutes a year — or about 1/4 of the day. And then the world will rejoice as we can start boycotting new and exciting things – like shaving.

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